Top 10 Emerging Careers for College Grads

Yes, STEM is critical, but liberal arts majors can take heart

african american engineer in blue hard hat and holding blueprints

(Image: File)

So, college is not just about reading noteworthy books.

And although I personally love that idea, most people go to college because they want to be prepared to actively compete in the labor market, not to have thoughtful discussions—though those are good too, of course.

[Related: Obama Administration Supports African American STEM Degree Completion]

But being able to work productively in a field that’s meaningful for you and for which you will be well compensated is an important part of what makes life useful, fulfilling, and worthwhile.

In that vein, U.C. San Diego Extension recently released its annual Emerging Careers report, previously known as the Hot Jobs report. Yes, all the top 10 are tech-heavy, but if you’re a liberal arts major, you’re in better shape than you might have thought.

The top 10 careers, according to the report:

  1. Software developers, applications
  2. Accountants and auditors
  3. Computer systems analysts
  4. Medical and health service managers
  5. Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products
  6. Management analysts
  7. Market research analysts and marketing specialists
  8. Financial analysts
  9. Information security analysts
  10. Civil engineers

It’s no secret that the tech sector is driving job growth. That’s why Black Enterprise continues to stress STEM as an area of academic study and now holds an annual technology conference every fall in Silicon Valley (for which we’re gearing up now).

According to the New York Urban League’s free booklet, A Parent’s Guide to STEM, jobs in the STEM fields are projected to grow about twice as fast as those in other industries.

These jobs are also the highest-paying. STEM graduates earn $500,000 more over their lifetimes than their non-STEM peers. Even starting salaries are higher for STEM majors.

But liberal arts majors need not despair. The report stresses the need for technical prowess nested within a broad understanding of history, pop culture, traditional values, demographics, and trends.

The report states, “At least five of the emerging jobs we describe in this report represent promising opportunities for people who have a strong liberal arts background-“plus,” with the “plus” representing credentialing, certification, or even a master’s degree in a somewhat more technical and analytical competency.”

The priority is on developing the kind of understanding a liberal arts education develops, but not stopping there.

In her introduction to the report, Mary L. Walshok, Ph.D., Associate Vice Chancellor of Public Programs and Dean of Extension, writes that a college degree is increasingly necessary for a good job—but it is no longer enough. “For interesting, well-compensated, lifelong employment,” you need to commit to lifelong learning and upgrading of your skills.

To read the report, go here.